SAS posts first full-year profit in six years

Scandinavian airline SAS announced its first full-year profit since 2007 on Thursday, after a drastic cost-cutting programme launched earlier this year.

The net profit of 178 million kronor ($27 million) contrasts with 3.01 billion in losses one year earlier and revenue fell by 0.5 percent to 42.182 billion kronor.

"As a result of the vigorous measures implemented under the change programme, the weaker income trend could be partially offset by lower costs," the company said in a statement.

SAS launched a drastic cost-cutting programme in the beginning of the fiscal year including asset sales and salary reductions. 

"We are glad to announce that SAS is now delivering on the promises of a positive result for the full fiscal year," the company said on Twitter.

The airline highlighted its positive fourth quarter results – a 352 million kronor profit compared to the 574 million kronor losses a year earlier – despite "a weak economic trend and intensified competition".

The revenue for the period was almost unchanged at 11.059 billion kronor. 

The short-term outlook remains challenging for the company.

"The weaker conditions are expected to continue and, as usual, due to seasonality, the first quarter of 2013/2014 (November-January), will be extremely weak," SAS said.

The asset sales behind the company's profit could hardly be repeated in the future and the airline now believes that "the financial targets expected to be reached in 2014/2015 will not now be reached until 2015/2016".

The group sold 80 percent of Norwegian regional airline Wideroee to Norwegian investors for two million kroner ($311 million) in September, and in November sold 10 percent of its ground handling to Swiss specialist Swissport for an undisclosed figure.

In 2014, the airline expects to open 43 new routes.

50 percent of SAS is owned by the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish states, which have expressed their interest in selling their share if a good opportunity arises. 

Last September, Germany's Lufthansa chief executive Christoph Franz said that he "could consider" a possible SAS buyout.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.